If you have any questions about the voting process then Spunout.ie are running a voter help-desk here. If you are unsure of who to vote for in your constituency then the Smartvote.ie site will help you find the right candidate. The election is this Friday and polling stations will be open from 7am until 10pm.

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It is sobering to think of the sheer number of people our age who voted in the last general election who won’t be around on Friday to have their say. In the best case scenario, this is because they now live in London scraping a living in an extortionate economy or work further afield in Australia and look forward to the idea of Skyping home each Christmas. Sadly, others aren’t with us because of preventable deaths which could have been avoided if we had health services that functioned, jobs that made people feel valued, access to educational opportunities and all the other supports a compassionate state would have provided to its citizens.

For those of us who can vote on Friday, we cast our vote in a society which has become painfully efficient at exploiting its young people and eliminating our rights. The approach of the last government has been much like the approach of the government that came before. It has eroded our right to equal social services by restricting our dole, denied us employment rights by forcing us to work for free and abandoned us to a housing situation which leaves many of us on the brink of homelessness each month. We are precarious in every way, and not by accident, but by design. Successive governments have shown barely disguised malice in their efforts to create a system which will inflict so much misery that we will simply leave and cease to be their problem.

On Friday we have a voice, and there is no doubt that all of us across the country will make every effort to use it. We would encourage you to look critically at the state we’re in, the options you have, and the outcomes that your vote might lead to. Think of all your friends from secondary school, from college and from work who won’t be around and vote on their behalf as well. It’s not just Fine Gael and Labour that did this to us, Fianna Fáil and the Greens led the way.

There should be no false hope that the results that emerge on Saturday will instantly change our conditions. Come Monday morning we will still face unpaid internships, college fees, uncaring welfare officers, extortionate rents and zero union recognition. But there is a chance, a small chance, that the nature of the next government may be more humane in its treatment of its citizens and in many ways the decision on whether this will be the case lies with us.

We are the generation which grew up being told we would have everything, and then arrived to find that those ahead of us had already maxed out the value of our lives on selfish speculation. We have dealt with that scenario with courage and a tenacity which few would have expected other than ourselves. We should let them know how we feel in the election, and then regardless of the result, take back what’s rightfully ours.

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